Field hockey team remains positive despite losing season

Junior Harriet Aburn takes the ball out, Oct. 22, CMU Field Hockey complex. Josh Barnhart | Freelance Photographer

Having won only three games during the past two seasons, Central Michigan's field hockey program knows adversity well. But the team continues to keep a positive attitude each time players step on the field.

The Chippewas claimed a regular season Mid-American Conference title in 2014, their first since 2004, before falling in the MAC tournament semifinals that year.  

Following the season, Molly Pelowski was hired to lead the Chippewas after longtime head coach Cristy Freese retired. In Pelowski's first season as head coach in 2015, the team went 2-15 — the Chippewas worst record since 1992.

“Every program that has any sort of leadership change undergoes a change of culture,” Pelowski said. “We had some difficulty getting some buy-in from our players.”

In Pelowski’s second season as head coach, the Chippewas sit at 1-16 with one game remaining. 

The teams’ biggest struggle this season has been their ability to score. In nine of CMU's losses  this season, the Chippewas failed to score a single goal. They have scored more than one goal on just one occasion, and have been outscored 83-11 during the 2016 campaign. 

“We need to have more talent on the team,” Pelowski said. “We have to recruit better and bring in great players that want to be Chippewas.”

Pelowski said a “lack of execution” was one of the main reasons the team failed to score goals this season. 

“When the pressure was on, we got away from the fundamentals,” she said. “We were turning the ball over, which resulted in goals, and we weren’t able to build and generate enough attacks to score.”

Despite losing 13 consecutive games, and its lone win coming on Sept. 3, the Chippewas haven't shifted their mindset. 

“We came in very confident,” said junior midfielder Catherine Schneider. “As the season progressed we realized we needed to work on some things, but we never got down about it. Our team has a strong personality.”

Pelowski said missing out on the MAC Tournament for the second straight season will be tough for her and the team.

“We have a bitter taste in our mouth,” she said. “We wanted to make the MAC tournament and we didn’t qualify for that this year.”

CMU hosts Ball State at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Field Hockey Complex.

“As we have watched our season dwindle, we have come together as a team to set goals that we want to accomplish in the last game,” Barber said. “We have to play as if this game was our only game and come out with a win.”